Saturday, February 21, 2009
The old tree
Zoe (my girlfriend) and I decided that we needed a bit of adventure and the first thing that came to my mind was the Old Tree. A Cotton Wood tree near the North Saskatchewan River is the largest known tree in Saskatchewan. I had been to the tree in the summer but never in the winter so I wasn't sure how the roads would be. So we dicided to take snowshoes. It was a good thing we had snowshoes with us, the grid roads are not well maintained in this area. There are no farms or anyone that lives along this road so I don't think that the roads get cleared on a regular basis. We drove as far as we could being careful not to end up in the ditch. It would be a long walk back to the highway to get help. Finally the snow covered the road and we could go no further. Leaving the car at the side of the road we dawned our snowshoes, quickly checked my gps for a direction and headed off across a stubble field. I knew we weren't far from the tree and the gps confirmed that we were only about 4 km's from it.
The weather was nice, around -10 to -15 with a very slight wind. When we crossed the field and approached the river valley we discovered that we would have to descend a large hill to the valley floor. Before we made our way to the bottom we took a moment to snap a few photos and take in the view. From the top of the valley we could see a number of deer running along the trees. We slowly made our way down the bank like a switchback road making it's way on a hillside.
Making the final jump at the bottom of the hill we found ourselves on a skidoo trail which I had a feeling would lead us right to the tree. The Old Tree, you can't miss it. A plains cotton wood crossed with black or balsam popular, it stands 68 feet high with, its branches reach 104 feet and is estimated to be over 160 years old. Over the it's life time this old tree has seen a good deal of changes in the area. This area is rich in dukabor history and surely was held in high requard.
After spending some time at with the tree, sipping tea it was late in the afternoon, the light would be fading soon so we packed our things and retraced our steps back to the car.
If you're feeling a bit adventurous or would like to get out of the city for an afternoon, the old tree is definitely a nice place to visit. The tree can be found at this location. N 52° 44.724 W 106° 43.334